Ex-Illinois cop charged in 2020 with killing black man

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WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) — A former suburban Chicago police officer who was fired after shooting into a car two years ago, killing a black man and seriously injuring the man’s girlfriend, has been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, authorities said Thursday.

In a news release, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office said it has unsealed grand jury indictments against former Waukegan police officer Dante Salinas on October 20, 2020. , a shooting that killed a 19-year-old man, Marcellis Stinnette, and injured his girlfriend, Tafara Williams, according to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office. Salinas was also charged with aggravated assault causing grievous bodily harm and official misconduct.

People gather before a prayer vigil for Marcellis Stinnette, 19, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020 at the corner of Helmholtz and MLK Jr. Drive in Waukegan. Stinnette was fatally shot by Waukegan police on Tuesday. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

Chicago Tribune via Getty Images

On the night of the shooting, another Waukegan officer stopped the couple’s car and was questioning them when Williams suddenly drove off, investigators say. The officer gave chase and Salinas answered his call for help and joined in the pursuit.

Williams veered off the road and crashed, then reversed her car in an attempt to drive out of the area, the Lake County state’s attorney’s office said in a news release Thursday.

Salinas had gotten out of his patrol car and was out of the way of Williams’ car, but he “fired multiple shots into the driver’s side of the vehicle as it continued to back up in front of him,” according to the Press release.

This undated photo provided by the Lake County State's Attorney's Office shows former Waukegan Police Officer Dante Salinas.  A grand jury returned indictments Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, against the former suburban Chicago police officer on Oct. 20, 2020, a shooting that killed 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette and injured his daughter. friend, Tafara Williams, the Lake County News-Sun reported.  (Lake County State's Attorney's Office via AP)
This undated photo provided by the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office shows former Waukegan Police Officer Dante Salinas. A grand jury returned indictments Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, against the former suburban Chicago police officer on Oct. 20, 2020, a shooting that killed 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette and injured his daughter. friend, Tafara Williams, the Lake County News-Sun reported. (Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office via AP)

Williams was injured and Stinnette, who prosecutors said had committed no crime, was killed.

A bullet trajectory expert was able to determine Salinas’ location and the trajectory of his bullets, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said in the statement.

Salinas surrendered to authorities on Thursday and a judge ordered that he be held on $350,000 bail, prosecutors said. Second degree murder carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of five years. If Salinas is found guilty on both counts, the sentences would be served concurrently.

Douglas Zeit, an attorney who represented Salinas in court Thursday, declined to comment when reached by phone.

Williams was charged with aggravated flight. She also surrendered to authorities and a judge ordered that she be released on $50,000 bond.



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